1. What was the name and purpose of your Gold Award project?
My Gold Award Project is called Share your Shoes. The purpose of
this project is to educate the homeless in Atlantic City, New Jersey
on proper foot care and foot health.
Through much research, I found that homeless men and women walk 15+ miles a day more than the average person. There are many common ailments and many complex health issues that affect the feet. Those extra miles in worn, ill-fitting shoes are harmful to the feet. Many homeless are unaware of the signs and symptoms of problems, and most do not have access to routine medical care. Therefore, simple issues are allowed to fester until they require an emergency room visit.
I researched simple tips for the prevention of many of these issues and some first aid for conditions such as blisters, fungus, trench foot, frostbite, ulcers, diabetic neuropathy, etc. I designed education boards to be used at AtlanticCare’s Mission Health’s annual health fair for the homeless, which I used at the 2017 health fair to teach most of the 500+ attendees how to identify issues and to care for their feet. I was also able to direct many to podiatrists that specialize in the care and treatment of their ailment helping to prevent trips to the emergency room.
Additionally, my team and I provided nearly 800 pairs of gently used shoes, new socks and blessing bags filled with podiatric care items: wet wipes, nail files, lotion, etc.
2. What sustainable impact did your Gold Award project have on the community?
The education boards I created remain with Atlantic Care for use at their annual health fair and through the FaceBook page and many newspaper articles and connections with online shoe retailers, hundreds of shoes and sock donations for Atlantic Care Mission Health continue to roll in.
3. What insights/takeaway did you gain from your project?
From my project, I gained valuable knowledge such as going with the flow. Many adults and doctor’s offices were unwilling to work with a teenager. I rarely received calls back. I learned how to persevere through many unkept promises.
Foremost, however, I learned the impact just one person can make. Through my project, I taught a team of family, friends and fellow Girl Scouts who in turn helped to teach hundreds. And now, those individuals will teach others as well. I have always wanted to pursue a career in healthcare and this project instilled in me that this is my future, helping to heal people.
4. What Is your favorite memory of completing your Gold Award project?
My favorite memory of this project was of one man. At the AlantiCare HealthPlex’s Annual HealthFair where I educated and distributed the shoes, socks and blessing bags to the homeless one man found a pair of new shoes that fit him properly. He was so grateful to have this pair because the last pair he received from a local church, a few days before, was giving him blisters. He gave me the new pair from the church so that I could give them to someone else.
That man showed me that these men and women were just down on their luck and showing them kindness all they need.
5. Anything else you'd like to share?
Feel free to visit the Share Your Shoes Facebook page.